,UK

Pubs, restaurants see 26% sales drop in May as restrictions continue

On a like-for-like sales basis, groups recorded a 15% drop in May 2021 from May 2019.

Britain’s pubs, restaurant and bar groups posted a 26% drop in total sales in the last two full weeks of May compared to the same month in 2019, according to data from 57 companies in the latest edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker.

Indoor dining gave a boost to the managed restaurant sector, where total sales were down 13% on May 2019. Ongoing distancing restrictions held down pubs’ sales at 34% below 2019’s levels, despite a Bank Holiday weekend. Bars were deemed the weakest segment for the second month in a row, with total sales down 38%.

On a like-for-like sales basis, groups recorded a 15% drop in May 2021 from May 2019—an improvement on April’s figure of -26%. Restaurants were down only 6%, but pubs and bars were down 22% and 25%, respectively.

The Tracker also showed that rolling 12-month sales to the end of May were 48% below the previous 12 months.

“May brought a solid if unspectacular return to inside trading for managed restaurants, pubs and bars,” said Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.

“Consumers have been eager to get back inside restaurants, and sunny weather helped pubs close the month on a high, but distancing and other trading constraints continue to offset those benefits. While the long-term outlook for the sector remains good, so much now hinges on whether the government sticks to its roadmap to recovery. Any delay to the removal of restrictions from 21 June would badly set back hospitality’s fragile recovery just as it starts.”

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